ESTA 000

Automating data from over 12,000 alarms for emergency services

A busy office of staff monitoring systems on their computers
Esta 000

The Challenge

Victoria is unique in Australia and rare in the world in having a single, centralised authority responsible for police, fire, ambulance and State Emergency Service call-taking and dispatch.

ESTA provides the critical link between the Victorian community and the state’s emergency services agencies. It also manages the provision of advanced, operational communications for Victoria’s emergency services.

One of ESTA’s critical services is managing all the automatic fire alarms in Victoria – over 12,000 alarms. However, there wasn’t a single repository for the fire alarm data, it was based on a spreadsheet system, and there wasn’t even a single spreadsheet.

Three main alarm monitoring companies would send a list of their current alarms to ESTA’s Fire Alarm Services Manager, who would run filters on the spreadsheets to keep track of, and invoice activity.

Over the years, this became a very cumbersome approach with no real way to interrogate the data leading to governance, audit and monthly balance issues.

ESTA needed to refine the system and make the data more accessible, readable and reliable.

The Solution

A young woman monitors alarms on her computer using the newly built solution

It became clear to the Kiandra-ESTA project management team a centralised system was needed, and putting it into the cloud and off spreadsheets meant it would all be on one spot.

The other issue at hand was data integrity. The foundational data needed to be cleansed and organised in order to create business rules around data provision for the three main fire alarm providers and ESTA itself.

Jeff Adair, ESTA’s Fire Alarm Services Manager said “if you’ve got bad data in, you get bad data out. We were running with no data supply specifications, and to clean this up, mandatory fields were brought in, in order to organise the data and filter the registry, to look and drill down to specific date ranges, company, new alarms.”

“Kiandra project manager, Nic, was able to help clean this up by analysing any issues to determine why errors were occurring in the first place – getting to the root of the problem. Sometimes this was as simple as the date being formulated.”

Kiandra’s solution would hold the ESTA alarm data from all alarm monitoring companies in one repository. All alarm data from the companies will be securely located and stored in a single ESTA database, with the necessary structures and measures in place to ensure data consistency, security and accessibility at all times.

The Outcome

Jeff says “previously I would have had to enter the monthly figures into a spreadsheet, send it to finance, who then produce the invoice. Now I just press the ‘send to finance’ button.”

This automation has freed up Jeff’s time but also enabled him to apply more analytics to the data being received monthly.

The new repository is hosted on the AZURE platform, and is able to generate data reports “for anyone to read, a five-year-old could read this,” according to Jeff.

ESTA now have a monthly supply of clear data and business rules set in place to keep this in order. Jeff explains, “in the end, we have these business rules around our data, which was very easy for our providers to adapt to. And if there is an issue, we will get notified.”

Overall, many of Jeff’s processes have been automated – it’s taken spreadsheets off his hands and given him command of the data, sans cumbersome Excel formulas. The system is better streamlined.

As for the project, in 2020, a year full of many spanners – it delivered in scope with no changes to the budget. ESTA’s executive team dubbed the project ‘the only one to deliver 100%’, and so plan to build on this AZURE platform moving forward.

ESTA’s executive team praised the project as “delivering 100%”
Jeff Adair, Fire Alarm Services Manager, ESTA
Jeff Adair
Fire Alarm Services Manager, ESTA
The executive director of our project management team informed the leadership team of ESTA that the only project which delivered 100% of its outcomes was the fire alarms database.
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